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6 Things You Need To Do If You Want To Retire Early

6 Things You Need To Do If You Want To Retire Early

Most people think about retirement in some sense. You may be one of the “average” people looking for retirement at 65, or you may be someone who is aiming to retire early.

Early retirement may not be for everyone: it usually means that you have to go to some form of extreme in order to reach it. You may have to work long hours, cut your expenses a good amount, or even both. However, I’ve never heard a complaint from those who retire early.

Also, there are many websites that talk a lot about early retirement that you may want to read if you are serious about having this goal. My favorites include Mr. Money Mustache, Retire By 40Create My Independence and Johnny Moneyseed.

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1. Determine how you will live during early retirement.

You need to really think about how you want to spend your retirement in order to determine how you will reach early retirement. Will you be traveling the world? Will you move to a cheaper foreign country? Will you have children? Will you have grandchildren? How will you pay for anything medical that arises?

2. Figure out how much you will realistically spend in retirement.

For some reason, most think that they will spend less when they are in retirement. However, that is not always the case. You will have more free time and therefore will have more time to possibly spend money. Also, you will have to start paying for your own health insurance if it is currently being covered by your employer. The cost of this may shock you if you are not used to it.

3. Figure out how much you need to save in order to retire early.

Of course, the big factor of whether or not you can retire early is whether you actually have enough retirement funds. You need to figure out exactly how much you need to retire and how you can stretch that amount for decades to come. For example, if you want to retire in 10 years at the age of 35, you need to figure out exactly how much you need to survive in order to stretch your retirement funds for almost another 50 or 60 years.

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4. Start making as much money as you can.

One way to reach early retirement is to make as much money as you realistically can. Definitely do not engage in anything illegal, but try to get as many promotions and pay raises as you can. Work hard and know what your next step to reach that next pay level is.

This is where certain people aren’t interested in early retirement. Do you want a lifelong job that you love? Or do you want a job that will allow you to retire early? Usually it will be hard to have both.

There are many fields that you may be interested in to make more money. You can go into engineering, sales, certain financial sector jobs and more. Or you could work a day job and earn extra income on the side as well.

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5. Look for passive income.

If your goal is early retirement and you no longer want to work, you may want to look into making monthly income through passive sources. This way you are still bringing in money each month, but all that is required from you is occasional maintenance.

Ideas for passive income include rental properties, investing in dividend-paying stocks, and more.

6. Cut your expenses.

If you want to reach retirement as soon as possible, then you may want to make as much as you can, and also cut your expenses as much as you can. Doing both at the same time can drastically increase your savings rate.

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Look for any expenses that you can cut out of your budget. I am a firm believer of enjoying your money but also saving it. So, cutting your expenses does not mean that you need to cut everything out in your life that you enjoy. It means that you need to find a healthy medium.

There are many ways for you to get a better value for your money: ask for discounts, use coupons, buy quality items, and so on. Do you really need a 5,000 square foot home? Analyze anything and everything in your life. I’m sure there is something that you can cut out of your budget.

Do you want to retire early? Why, or why not?

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Last Updated on March 4, 2019

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

How to Use Credit Cards While Staying Out of Debt

Many people will suggest that the best thing to do with your credit cards during these tough economic times is to cut them up with a pair of scissors. Indeed, if you are already in huge debt, you probably should stop using them and begin a payback strategy immediately. However, if you are not currently in trouble with your credit cards, there are wise ways to use them.

I happen to really love my credit cards so I will share with you my approach to how I use mine without getting into deep financial trouble.

Ever since about 1983 when I got my first Visa card, I continue to charge as many of my purchases as possible on credit. Everything from gas, groceries and monthly payments for services like my cable and home security monitoring are charged on credit. Despite my heavy usage, I have maintained the joy of never paying any interest fees at all on any of my credit cards.

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Here are some tips on how best to use your credit cards without falling into the trap of paying those nasty double-digit interest fees.

Do Not Treat Credit Cards as Your Funding Sources

Too many people treat their credit cards as funding sources for major purchases. Do not do this if you want to stay out of trouble. I use my credit cards as convenient financial instruments so I do not have to carry around much cash. In fact, I hate carrying cash, especially coins. When you buy things on credit, the purchases are clean and you will not get annoying coins back as change.

I do not rely on my Visa, MasterCard or American Express to fund any of my purchases, large or small. This brings me to my golden rule when it comes to whether I will pull out any of my credit cards either at a retail or online store.

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I never purchase anything with my credit cards if I do not have the actual cash on hand in my bank account.

If I really cannot pay for the item or service with cash that I already have at the bank, then I simply will not make the purchase. Remember, my credit cards are not used as funding sources. They are just convenient alternatives to actual cash in my pocket.

Make Sure to Always Pay Off Balances in Full Each Month

The next very important part of my overall strategy is to make absolutely sure that I pay the balances in full each and every month no matter how large they are. This should never be a problem if the cash has been budgeted for my purchases and secured in the bank. I have always paid my full balances each month ever since my very first credit card and this is why I never pay interest charges.

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Using Credit Cards with Rewards

Most of my credit cards are of the “no annual fees” type, including one MasterCard on a separate account I keep at home as a spare in case I lose my wallet or incur any fraudulent charges. However, I do use a main Visa card which does have an annual fee because all purchases on that card reward me with airline frequent flyer points. For me, the annual fee is worth it since I do travel and I get enough points to redeem many free flights.

You have to decide for yourself if you will charge enough purchases on credit each year without paying interest charges to warrant a credit card that rewards you with airline points (or other rewards). In my case, the answer is “yes” but that might not be the case for you.

I occasionally use a MasterCard or American Express card on small purchases just to keep those accounts active. Also, I have been to the odd retailer that accepted only a certain type of credit card, so I find that having one from each major company is quite handy. Aside from my main Visa card which earns the airline points, the rest of my cards are of the “no annual fees” variety.

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So this is how I use my credit cards without getting into any financial trouble with them. This strategy is recommended only if you are not in debt, of course. In fact, it is worth keeping in mind once you’re out of debt so that you can keep your credit cards active and treat them responsibly.

What are your credit card usage strategies? Let me know in the comments — I’d love to hear what methods you use.

Featured photo credit: Artem Bali via unsplash.com

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